Hailing from New Zealand but sounding more like they sound like an alternate take on Nashville, devilishly dark and caustic duo Dead Little Penny (vocalist/songwriter Hayley Smith and drummer/synth player Simon Buxton) are back with another powerful tune – Depression.
Coming across like a supergroup of The Cramps and Joy Division fronted by Courtney Love, the opening bleakness of the track is quickly blindsided and slightly brightened by a richly thundering bass and Smith’s deadpan vocals.
The slow build hits a crescendo of sorts, the tempo and fuzzy energy of the track amping up the homonymstic message that pervades the lyrics.
It poses a question – where does the pain in the lyrics lie, in the heart or in the mind? Is it even real or just a layer of wry wordplay? That question never gets answered, but that in itself gives the song even more of an edge and a layer of subtle confusion that adds to the sombre mystery dwelling within the words and music.
Smith had this to say about the feelings and life experiences that lay behind the genesis of the song:
“Writing this track was totally cathartic for me, because it’s something I’ve dealt with so many times – two people falling in love, who both have their own personal struggles and demons.
It’s is a nod to the many times in life that you can tell a potential love situation may be a complete train wreck, but being unable to stop your feelings, and wanting to stand by someone in their darkest times, even though you have yours too.
So basically, life. I’ve loved writing, recording and performing this song, because of its grungy nature and gritty vocals. It just gets it all out.”